Tag Archives: Connecticut

Random Tuesday

I’ve been away from the blog for a few days, mainly because I was with my parents for the weekend, but also because I wanted to keep my distance from the internet for the past little while. I’m glad to see nothing too horrible seems to have happened in the world since I last peeped out over my parapet, so I’m grateful for that. Today, if you’ll indulge me, I’ll wander about a little in the garden of my mind, and maybe by the end of it we’ll have a bouquet of thoughts. They might not be thoughts which are particularly well-connected, and they may make no sense whatsoever stuck together in a bouquet, but let’s hope for the best.

I wish my mind looked like this!

I wish my mind looked like this!

Is it wrong, do you think, to feel so strongly about an event which had nothing to do with you, in a country you’ve never even been in, and to which you have no connection? I’ve spent the last few days thinking about the children lost in Connecticut, and working through my own sorrow. My feelings of loss and grief are real, and I am desperately sorry for the bereaved families, and for the people of Newtown in general – and I hope that these feelings of loss don’t cause any further offence to those who are suffering. Of course, I didn’t know any of the children, and in a way, my sorrow for them is meaningless – but my sorrow is there, nonetheless. What I don’t want to do is stray into the territory of gratuitous horror-mongering, of which some ‘newspapers’ are guilty; at the weekend, someone in my company was flicking through a paper which lingered grotesquely over the injuries inflicted upon the victims of this atrocity, and I felt compelled to ask them to close the paper and put it away. I don’t see how that sort of ‘journalism’ is helpful to anyone. Nobody but the medical examiners charged with the harrowing task of conducting the autopsies should have knowledge of how badly these children were injured, and any ‘newspaper’ which feels it has the right to reprint that information should be ashamed. So, the first flower in my odd little bouquet is a rose – a red one, ideally. It’s for the children of the world. I’m thinking about them all today, and hoping no other child has to go through the terror that was visited upon the children of Sandy Hook. Beside the red rose, I think I’ll tuck a little blue forget-me-not, which is especially for the children of Newtown, Connecticut.

I’m thinking about Christmas, too, because how could anyone be unaware that it’ll be here, this day next week? For the first time in my life, I’m going to be away from my parents for Christmas, and I’m torn in all sorts of ways about that. Of course, I’m looking forward to spending my Christmas with my husband, but I know I’m going to miss my parents and my brother. Christmas was, and is, a special time for my family and it will be strange not to have them with me on the day. Mixed in with the excitement of creating new traditions, and experiencing new joys, will be a sense of loss because my parents won’t be with me. But I have to realise how lucky I am to have too many people with whom I want to spend Christmas – there are so many people who are on their own at this time of year, so I’m very blessed. I’m going to place some daisies into my bouquet, because they’re my favourite flower, and one which my parents would associate with me. I know they’ll be remembering me with love at Christmas, just as I’ll be remembering them.

One of my dearest friends is due to give birth to her first baby in the coming days. It’s so fitting, because my friend is crazy about Christmas; I can’t think of a better time of year for her to become a mother for the first time. My husband and I met one another at her wedding, so she and her husband have a very special place in our hearts and thoughts. She’s on my mind a lot, and we are waiting anxiously every day to hear whether it’s time for the new little person to arrive. He or she will be the luckiest baby in the world – not only will s/he have the most loving parents any child could wish for, but there is a huge circle of people around them, all of whom want to shower the new baby with affection and give every support to the new parents. I feel, in many ways, like this new child will be family to me because my friend and her husband are so dearly loved by me; I can’t wait to meet him or her. So, for my beautiful friend, her wonderful husband and their baby, I’m adding a pink carnation to my odd little bouquet.

I’m also thinking about the new year, and what it might bring for me and my family – I’m wondering about how my life might change, and whether we’ll get by. I’m hoping all will be well. The only flower I can think of which makes me feel like everything will be all right, and which makes me smile whenever I see it, and which feels like a dollop of happiness dropped right into the middle of everything, is a sunflower. So, I’ll add a sunflower to my strange posy. It looks a little odd, but I think it all goes together quite well, after all.

So, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed your little stroll through my mental meadow, and that you take a moment to admire my bouquet! Feel free to stick around in here and pick a few more flowers for yourself, if you like. Have a happy and peaceful day.

CT

It’s late where I am, and I’m full of emotion as I write, so it’s perhaps not the best time to blog. But I’m going to, because it feels right. It’s the only thing I can do, so I feel I should do it.

It would be inappropriate to comment on anything today that doesn’t involve the atrocity in Newtown, Connecticut; nothing else matters. What could be more important? I could sit here and waffle on about books, and editing, and characterisation, and the little daily nuggets I like to give about my life and my work. I could try to distract myself by focusing, as I so often do, on the minutiae of my own small life. But when twenty-eight people (as the total currently stands) lie dead tonight, the majority of those victims children, there’s just nothing else worth talking about.

Why do we, as humans, continue to repeat our mistakes? Why do we keep doing the same stupid things, over and over and over again? How often does something horrific have to happen before we realise – ‘Hang on. Maybe there’s a better way to accomplish my goals, here.’ Why does there have to be shooting after shooting, massacre after massacre, before people wake up and realise that guns should only be allowed in the hands of those who are trained, and who are trusted to use them responsibly? I just can’t understand why there are people in the world to whom this doesn’t seem logical. That’s the beauty of the world, though, isn’t it – we’re all different, and we all see things our own way. I champion people’s right to see things whatever way they want, and I’m fully aware that we can’t all agree, all of the time. But surely – surely – we can all agree that a massacre of children is a horrendous thing, and whatever steps need to be taken in order to minimise the risk of it ever happening again should be taken, no matter what those steps are? Even a person who has a rock-solid conviction that guns should be available to all should be mature enough to look at this situation and realise that perhaps, in some cases, their opinion is wrong. Are people really so closed to any other point of view that they could say ‘despite this, and in the face of this horrendous loss, I still think gun laws should be left untouched’? I guess so. And I guess that’s the reason we’re condemned to repeat our mistakes – because we’re not brave enough to change.

I’m not naive enough to believe that changing gun laws in America will stop all crime, everywhere, and rainbows will suddenly appear over the land, and the lion will lie down with the lamb. But I do believe, if I were American and had any say in the matter, that I’d do my best to make it as hard as possible for a person who is deemed unsuitable to own a high-powered rifle to get their hands on one. But I’m not American, and it’s not up to me.

There are no winners in a situation like this. I’m sure the family of the perpetrator is suffering, too – something which shouldn’t be forgotten – and the events of this day will continue to cause pain for years to come, both among the families of those who were lost, and those who lived through it. My thoughts are with all of those people affected by this, in any way. I wish the world was a place where nobody wound up in a mental state where they felt compelled to carry out an act like this (not that I wish to imply anything about mental health here); I wish we lived in a world where children didn’t need to do drills on how to survive during an emergency, or need to pass through a metal detector on their way to class. I wish we lived in a world where everyone knew what it felt like to be loved and cherished, and I wish we lived in a world where we could put aside our own petty, selfish interests for the sake of other people. But we don’t live in a world like that.

All anyone can do is love those whom you love with all your heart, and hope that it’s enough. Maybe – hopefully – one day, it will be.

candle heart